If We Were Having Coffee…

“Welcome back Marge!”, said one coworker to another on the shuttle bus this morning. She must’ve been on vacation. It briefly reminded me of the coworker at my last job that would say “Welcome to work” every time someone started a shift. 

I started that job 3 years ago. 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that things-life circumstances, jobs, attitudes towards life-do change. 

I started my previous job this month in 2014. I left that job about a year-and-a-half later to pursue a career as a flight attendant. My life hasn’t been the same since then. 

Things that have changed:

  • I navigate airports at an insanely fast rate. 
  • I’ve become far more patient, and even compassionate. 
  • I own a car after not having had one for 2 years before getting this job. 
  • Even though I have hard days, I have a job that I actually love. Before this job, the other ones were just a paycheck. 
  • Possibly because of the above (and some other circumstances), I’ve become the healthiest that I’ve ever been mentally. 

My life has also changed outwardly because my job was better. My salary nearly doubled, I bought a car a year ago, and now I’m about to embark on one of the most exciting life events yet:

I’m moving into my very own apartment. 

After years of wanting to move, I can finally afford it and I’m ready. I sign the lease the first of next month. 

Now here I am in a new year, sitting on an aircraft before sunrise, watching passengers board as I sip on an iced red eye. I start work in Charlotte, NC today. 

So, to wrap up our early coffee date this morning, I’d say this:

If you find yourself in a stuck or unfavorable situation, be encouraged and don’t give up. Also, don’t make yourself miserable by comparing your life with someone else’s. You’ll get to where you want to be; I’m certain of it. 

I’ll be living my life in anticipation of what will happen next… and I’ll be cheering you on, waiting to see what wonderful things shall happen for you. 

Because it will happen for you. I know it. 

#weekendcoffeeshare

A woman with curly hair…

…talked me into trying pizza funghi at Ciao Pizza in Boston.

We’re at a different location for the layover here, and I’m loving it! It’s near a TJ Maxx and Home Goods, a grocery store, a brewery, and most importantly, a pizza spot where everyone seems to be happy.

Being the only flight attendant on your aircraft is lonely sometimes; so when one of my pilots said he was going out for pizza, I jumped at the opportunity. I had eaten only a couple of hours ago, but who doesn’t have room for pizza? Said pilot also introduced me to using Yelp. This shall be my new best friend, as it is how we came to discover this unique pizza place.

It’s a small joint with a counter along the window that faces out, and another counter that faces into the open kitchen. I’ve never seen so many kitchen workers with smiling faces, and I used to work in food service. If the atmosphere at any of the places I’ve worked at was like this, I probably would’ve never left. Sometimes it’s not the pay that keeps you somewhere; it’s the people you work with and the passion they all have for the job. This is what surprised and impressed me about this pizza shop. What also caught our attention was the fact that it has many Yelp reviews, yet still has a 5 star rating.

The only way to explain it is how the place makes you feel upon entry, and if you’re lucky enough to have the time to sit in.

A woman was sitting next to us waiting on her order. She is a well-traveled woman that knows my beloved Philly, and swears that this is the best pizza she’s ever come across. The pizza funghi was her favourite, which is one of the pies that I was thinking of trying. Her rave about it made the decision for me. I started to order it just as she did, with an extra crispy crust; instead, I decided to order it just the way they would make it.

Here is what appeared in front of me (not to mention that I had it in about 5 minutes after ordering it):

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The crust was soft, arugula was peppery and crisp, and the mushrooms along with the roasted garlic cloves was savory, satisfying, and rich along with that cheese. The texture of the cheese was soft and gooey, and I like that the arugula was there for a crisp component. However, just because of my personal taste, I may order it with a crisper crust. It was delicious and satisfying with red wine.

I finished up with two mini-sized cannolis and an espresso.

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These people went beyond just being happy; they were singing to the songs on the radio. To take it a step further, they broke out instruments! First it started with the woman at the counter breaking out a mini tambourine. Next thing I know, a guy in the back was playing a triangle. On yet another song, another kitchen worker snatched up a wooden flute or recorder from one of the shelves. Never in my life have I seen such fun in a kitchen. It was also a joy to watch these people at their duties; there was passion put into the work, even down to washing the dishes, and respect flowed amongst everyone. Even the owner of the store was there and chatted with us and other patrons.

That personal care is something that would have me eagerly hopping a flight back to this location. Let’s face it, I can’t count on my job to give me another overnight at this spot; sometimes, you gotta make things happen.

It would’ve been so cool if you all could’ve met this woman. She was worldly, and obviously has really experienced life. In some ways, I felt like I connected with her; she looks like a glimpse of what I may be like when I’m older. I hope to be like that when I’m older: well traveled, experienced in life, happy with where I am, and still looking forward to more.

Once her order was ready, she bid us adieu, welcomed us to the area, and stepped out into the chill of the night.

I Sat Next To Mushy Peas…

…which is the name of a 3-legged kitty at the Kawaii Kitty Cafe in Philadelphia. I don’t even recall how I found out we have this in PA. I’ve heard about them before and knew there was one in NYC. The concept, however, originated in Tokyo. All I know is that I was looking at #catsofinstagram, and came across a cute kitty photo that had the hashtags “kitty café” and “philly”.

“What?!” I cried out, even though no one heard. I know that was my inner cat lady. She looked up from her knittig long enough to hear that, eyes wide with surprise over her spectacles. 

Yes, my inner cat lady is showing. No, I don’t care. I knew I had to pay a visit. I found out about this place at the beginning of the weekend while I was sick, and made a reservation to visit today. If you’re like me and can’t own a pet for whatever reason, here’s a good way to get your fix.

You do have to make a reservation, but it’s only $10/hr, and it’s totally worth it! I parked quite a distance away where I knew I could find cheap parking (heck, any parking at all!), but I had the time to walk down to the location and was still a good 20 minutes early. Mind you, it’s not necessary to be 20 minutes early; a good 10 minutes will do. It did, however, give me time to eat something before meeting the little darlings.

I sat on the couch in the cat lounge, next to my new found friend, Mushy Peas.


These cats have the best names ever! How can you not love cats with food names? Not all of them have food names, but the ones that do are: Princess Pizza, Bagel, and Pringle. Mushy Peas wasn’t the only handicapped kitty; there was also Lady Zombarella, who is blind. (I told you these were awesome names!).

If you tell a kitty that you’d like to take them home, guess what? You actually can! PAWS is partnered with this café, so every cat that you meet can be adopted. This café has been open since June, and nearly 60 of these lovelies have found homes! Maybe one of them will adopt you, and you can spend your days doing Netflix and chill. Cats are great for this, especially senior kitties. Older cats need love too; don’t count them out!

I wish you all could’ve met Mushy Peas. She’s a quiet cat, but loves to be petted when she warms up to you. I sat next to her when I entered, and didn’t realize she was missing a leg until she hopped down from the couch. She sat there very quietly next to me, and got a little closer when someone else sat on the couch. She ended up scampering out of sight for a while, but I got the best shot that I could when she came back.


Look at that little face!

I’m telling you. If I could, this cat would’ve been mine.

#adoptdontshop

 

The Side Eye

If we were having coffee, I experienced something that has had me wondering since it happened. This hasn’t happened in a little while, but I wonder if this will be something that I will now have to expect more and more, given the current climate in my country.

I was in the airport on a long sit (about 4 hours because of delays!), and I discovered that my airport has a Gap clothing store in it! I love the fit of Gap jeans, so I went in to peruse. I was trying on a jacket, and went to put it on when a white woman approached me. She started to pose a question about something in her hand, then paused and asked “Do you work here?”

Now, I understand that the people at Gap dress pretty casually. What I fail to understand is how she could ask me that question when I was not dressed casually at all! I was in my full flight attendant uniform with the scarf and all! Not even floor managers at the Gap are that dressy. I had to restrain myself from giving her a snappish answer, but I definitely looked at her like she was crazy.

So much of me wondered if she assumed I worked there because I was the first brown face that she saw close by. Like I said, I’ve had this happen before. I’m pretty sure most brown people have. Your class doesn’t spare you from the side eye and careless assumptions such as these.

Jon Stewart used to talk about matters like this when he hosted The Daily Show. I love that he, and a few others, have used their platforms to be like John the Baptist. However, their cry isn’t that the kingdom of heaven is near. Their cry is that “Racism is still alive and well! Prejudice and ignorance are still king in this country!” Any time that citizens of this country (people of colour that are legal citizens, LGBTQ folks, disabled persons)–people that have helped make up the tapestry that is this country–are fearful for their safety, that should be a concern for ALL persons. It’s not enough for merely those minorities to be concerned; sadly, their voices aren’t heard as well for reasons of which we’re all aware, even if we deny them.

There need to be others… more like him. Not everyone in this country is prejudiced, but not everyone is speaking out against those acting on their fear and ignorance. This is what makes me sad and afraid. More than anything, I wish that there was something I could do to stir change… but I don’t know where to start. I’m just one person. One black person and one woman. Who feels like her voice wouldn’t be heard.

#weekendcoffeeshare

My Favourite Multi-Purpose Products

I love things that have more than one purpose, especially as it pertains to packing. These are a few of my favourite things (see what I did there?)

  1. Jamaican Black Castor Oil. So I tried some of this from Sally’s because the sound of something mango & lime scented sounds delightful (and this is). It’s supposed to be for moisturizing hair, and I have used it for hot oil treatments. Another thing that it is excellent for is moisturizing your skin. Apply on damp skin after showering or bathing, and it leaves skin soft and supple. Another use is for cleaning makeup brushes. Just thought I’d throw that in there. Use along with soap.
  2. Plastic bags. Oscar the grouch was onto something with “I Love Trash”. A plastic bag is the perfect multi-purpose item. They’re good garment bags, plastic caps for condition your hair, shower caps, trash bags for a small trash can… the list goes on and on. Just one more though… they keep your hair from getting wet if you forgot an umbrella.
  3. Strainers. In the kitchen, strainers are a beautiful thing. Not only are they great for their intended purpose, they can be colanders, flour sifters, and good for rinsing rice.
  4. Coconut oil. All right, I know I have 2 oils on here, but I use them for different things. I rarely use this for cooking. What I really like using this for is oil pulling. It’s also great for makeup removal if you find yourself sans makeup removal cloths. It’s not as thick as the castor oil, which is why I like using it for my face. It’s like a facial cleanser and moisturizer in one. How sweet is that?
  5. Reusable bags. No duh, right? But seriously. I’ve used them for storage, as an overnight bag, and as a purse. Yes, I’ve used a reusable bag as a purse, and still do! Free People gives out cloth bags instead of plastic that are about the size of a dump bag. So when I’m away for work, that is my purse; it takes up very little luggage space.
  6. Soap. SOAP?! I know, but hear me out! If you get a cheap, nicely scented soap from TJ Maxx or a similar discount store, it can be used to scent your drawers! If you want to get fancy, wrap them in a pretty tissue paper and secure with a ribbon. Voila! You have drawer deodorizers and didn’t spend much!
  7. Paper towels or napkins. Lord knows how many times I’ve used these as note pads or for doodling on long flights. Hey, it’s paper!
  8. Laptop. Anyone else ever use theirs as a file folder? No? (Okay, that one was silly, but I do this regularly).
  9. Sarongs are so right! (I had to). It’s a scarf for around the waist, right? I have one that I use as a beach dress cover up, a scarf around the neck, and a head wrap! Why not get the most out of it? It can even be used as a beach blanket for one! Or a lap cloth in church.
  10. Diva Wash. Menstrual cup users rejoice! There is now another use for the Diva Wash! For those of you that don’t know, the Diva Wash is specially formulated to wash a menstrual cup. This is important because of, firstly, where it goes, and it won’t ruin the medical-grade silicone. I don’t know if you read it, but it’s also great for face and body. I’ve been using it as a facial wash and sometimes bath soap. It has a delightful orange soap. I’m sure you can use most any menstrual cup wash this way, but that happens to be the one I’ve seen most readily at drugstores.

So that’s it! I hope some of these might be helpful to you or made you chuckle a little. These are the items that I use frequently. Hopefully, you found some new favourites, or are looking at things around you differently.

Ciao!

Travel 101

‘Tis the season to be traveling, apparently. With Thanksgiving being the most traveled day and Christmas being the second, that’s a lot of passengers with baggage, miles accrued, and flashbacks to summer for flight crews (let’s not speak of it).

Whether you’re a veteran globetrotter, an annual traveler or somewhere in between, these tips should help you get from Point A to B with minimal stress and most of your hair. Being a stewardess for a year has helped me to improve my travel game. Although I have traveled in the past, doing it as a profession brought finesse.

  1. Keep your seatbelt visible. I know you’re anxious to find your seat and get that nap in, but please keep your seatbelt visible to the flight attendants. We do actually have to visually confirm that it’s on. If we can’t see it, you will be awakened from your slumber. It’s uncomfortable for all parties to do this, so keep the seatbelt where it can be seen. If you need a blanket, fasten the seatbelt over it. And for pity’s sake, fasten it properly; it’s for your safety!
  2. Pack light, then take something else out. Do you need to take your personal hair dryer, or a 4th pair of shoes? Packing is spelled PRIORITIZE. If you don’t desire to check any luggage, choose your carry on wisely. Yes, it may be a standard sized carry on, but suppose you’re on an aircraft that’s too small for roller boards (that, by the way, is over stuffed)? Or what if your flight is full, you’re towards the back of the line, and carry ons end up being checked? It happens! If you can’t bear the idea of checking a carry on, be prepared for this. Pack no more than is absolutely necessary, and rethink what you consider a necessity. Medication, identification, wallets, and things that cannot go underneath the plane should not go in a carry on in case it needs to be checked. Duffel bags have gotten nicer in recent years… consider this as an option. Most can usually go in the cabin under the seat.
  3. NEVER BOOK TIGHT CONNECTIONS. Okay folks, this one is important for a number of reasons, all of which are summed up thusly: it’s stressful. When booking a flight, look at the time you’ll have to make a connection. Allow 2-3 hours (yes, hours) between if you can. Flights get delayed more often than you think they do. PLEASE allow yourself time to make your connecting flight. This saves people from being screamed at that have no control over the many things that can delay a flight. This is something you can actually control.
  4. Be kind and considerate to all of the workers. From bag checkers, ticketing and TSA agents, flight attendants, customer service agents… keep in mind that these people are here to assist you to your destination. Because folks want to travel during the holidays, they forfeit time with their families to make that possible for you. Cursing them out will not help you reach your destination any faster, though you might get to visit with airport security. Follow their directions, be kind, and use your best manners, even if you’re stressed out. You can do it; I have faith in you. Added bonus: if you’re nice to us, we’ll be sure to look out for you.
  5. Watch and talk to fellow passengers. Put the phone/tablet down. Yes, put it down… and observe. Being a stewardess and watching people has helped me be able to pick out the clueless traveler from the road warrior. Your road warriors (individuals that feel most at home in airplanes and hotels) know a thing or two about how to travel; glean from them.
  6. Relax and enjoy. Travel is tiring! I can’t totally blame folks that get grouchy, especially if you don’t travel much and things don’t go as planned. Even beyond travel, life doesn’t go as planned sometimes! When it doesn’t, try to look at the positives. You never know what dangers are being avoided by your being delayed, or what fun detour you may find during the journey. Pause, Breathe, and look at the situation anew. Be sure to wind down at some point with hot tea and cat videos on YouTube. That’s what I do sometimes.

Enjoy this holiday season wherever you find yourself, and safe travels.

Seasons Greetings from your friendly neighborhood stewardess.